Semi-Charmed Life


Homeward Bound


18. Another long day.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Sunshine

I have always wanted to participate in those photo assignments that I see many people do online. Various meetup groups or forums will have a theme for the week, and your goal is to interpet that theme in a photograph. Some people do this for fun, while others participate because it helps with creativity. These challenges force you to think.

Anyway, I thought it would be cool to do this, but with people I know instead. So far this is only the second week, but already some people have taken some pretty interesting shots. We are following the challenges that are posted  on

This morning, as I was walking east towards the train station the sun was shining directly in my face. I didn't have time to think of anything cool so I just snapped two or three shots and went about my way.



Didn't quite get the effect I want but it'll do.

After work, as I exited the revolving doors of my building, I turned to my left and was met with the sun once again shining right into my face. I thought it would be a great shot, and it almost was.


I did not know what those ugly colored spots were so I asked my friend Steve. He schooled me on out of focus higlights. Better lenses produce more desirable oof highlights/bokeh. I think he said that one of the factors is the way the shutter is shaped?

Well, as you can see above, those ugly red hexagonal splotches on that picture ruin the picture =X

After I left work I went to my 7:30 bjj class. Had a very good training session today. I wasn't getting into dominating positions but for most of my rolls I thought I was moving and defending well. The techniques my instructor taught today were pretty cool too, since I can't recall the last time I learned a move from the north/south turtle position.

The first was a head and arm. D'arce? I don't know. My instructor, Magno Gama, said that all these names are new to him. I've heard another instructor say that in Brazil, all chokes are just chokes. Hell, most of the moves we learn don't even have names to them. It's either a "sweep" or a "choke" or an "escape."

The second move was another option in case he defends the first move by tucking in his arms. Magno was demonstrating the move when someone asked aloud if this was the Peruvian necktie. Magno said he does not call it that. Renzo was doing this way before people even started to call it the Peruvian necktie. If you want to call it that though, it's fine with me, he told us.

I asked someone to help me take a picture of me and Magno after class.

Magno GamaMagno Gama. One of the many instructors at RGA.


NYS MMA Legislation

Currently in NYS, there is a movement to legalize mixed martial arts in the state. I have already signed a petition at my gym, despite my skepticism in the effectiveness of petitions. On one of the forums I browse, one of the members wrote a very cordial email to NYS assemblyman Joel M. Miller urging him to support efforts to legalize mma in the state:

David Karchmer wrote:

I am urging you to support efforts to bring Mixed Martial Arts to New York. I have been a long time fan of the sport and I am hoping that the New York State legislature will pass bill # A2009/S2165, which would finally legalize MMA in New York.

Mixed Martial Arts is one of the fastest growing and most exciting sports in America, featuring world class athletes and a high degree of skill. In the past five years, the sport of Mixed Martial Arts has seen a meteoric rise in interest from nearly every age and demographic, adding to its cache as a mainstream sport.  MMA fighters are former Olympians, former NCAA wrestlers, elite-level athletes that deserve the support of New York. MMA events are heavily regulated under the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts to ensure that the highest levels of safety for all the athletes.

Mixed Martial Arts events regularly sell out venues, bringing millions in tourist dollars to states that sanction events. At a time when our state is facing difficult economic times, the additional revenue that MMA events would drive in would be a great benefit for our cash-strapped cities and arenas.  Hundreds of thousands, if not, millions of New Yorkers are watching MMA on TV, so our outdated ban merely deprives us of the revenue.

It is time for New York to the join the 36 other states, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, in regulating this sport. Thank you for your time.

This was Mr. Miller's response:

Dear Mr. David Karchmer,

This is in response to your postcard regarding Assembly Bill A2009C.  This bill would establish protocols for combative sports, authorize, and tax gross receipts for mixed martial arts events. Thank you for taking the time to write and advise me of your views.

This bill was referred to the Tourism, Parks, Arts, and Sports Committee.  This is a brutal activity. These fighters should not be viewed as role models. The Governor claims it would generate about $2 million in revenue for the state. It would be better to cut spending than to allow to be viewed in auditoriums or on TV which might encourage immature individuals to mimic this behavior. Should it come to the floor of the Assembly I will  be voting against it. 

If either my staff or I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us at 845-463-1635 or via email at

Thank you again for writing.


Joel M. Miller

Member of Assembly

102nd Assembly District 

 Wow! The level of sheer ignorance is ridiculous. I am offended because I do hold many mma fighters in high regard. The level of training, dedication and skill to succeed in this sport is very high. Many of these fighters, even the champs who are on top of the food chain, do not receive compensation anywhere close to other professional athletes such as boxers, football players, basketball players.

For this guy to insult such dedicated athletes (YES, these are fucking atheletes!) shows just how close-minded some individuals are. I acknowledge that the sport in its infancy was very brutal. Gloves were not used. Kicks to head on a down opponent were allowed, and so was just about anything short of eye gouging and fishhooking. But the sport of mixed martial arts has come a LONG way since the times of UFC 1 and when John McCain referred to mixed martial arts as "human cock-fighting."

Measures and regulations have been put in place to ensure the safety of the fighters, which helps to prolong their careers. It is upsetting that people do not acknowledge the legitimacy of mixed martial arts as a sport and do not give its athletes the respect they deserve.

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I wanted to get a shot of me with my instructor today but I couldn't get a hold of him after class. This is a shot of my mom about to walk Bobo.

Anyway, I signed up for an improv comedy class today. There are a lot of options in the city but not many that were suitable for me. I only have time on Sundays, which limits my options. After searching for a few weeks, I finally found a class. This is an 8 week long course and it meets each Sunday from 3pm to 6pm. I have no idea what to expect but I'm pretty excited!

I'm also still trying to think of a new name for my blog. It's been on my mind for days now but I can't think of one I like.


Training Blues

I came across this article while doing my morning browsing earlier.

I don’t know anyone who has been training in the sport of grappling for an extensive period of time that hasn’t experienced a slump or been in some sort of rut. When you are in a training slump you may experience the following:

- You don’t feel like your improving and have the feeling that you no longer will.

- You’re starting to feel frustrated.

- You feel unmotivated.

- You feel like you want to quit training all together.

- You feel nothing is going right.

Being able to get through your slump in grappling could be the determining factor of whether you continue in your training or not. If you do continue and get through your first slump, then getting through other slumps will get easier. If you don’t get through your slump, then chances are that you probably won’t be grappling much longer. I’ve seen training slumps make and break many people. 

Continue to the rest of the article here.

While I did not personally find many of the tips useful, it's comforting to know that I'm not alone.

Everyone has their bad days I guess.

What matters more is what we do after those bad days. I really liked this quote at the beginning of the article

“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached as by the obstacles that one has overcome while trying to succeed.” ~ Mark Twain